Here we are in the midst of Milwaukee’s summer concert season.
Yep, Summerfest is in full force now, but as it begins to wind down, don’t fret, this is the summer concert season, remember? So, there are plenty of shows coming to Milwaukee that will surely keep your inner groupie/rocker (which ever you prefer) content for at least the next month or so.
Touring all summer after a six-year hiatus, Stone Temple Pilots are back, bringing an unpredictable night of classic ‘90s grunge that’s sure to be interesting, at the very least.
I’ve heard many mixed reviews from flannel wearing fans regarding STP’s summer excursion, mostly due to the volatility of the band’s unique front man Scott Wieland. Weiland moved on after five years with Velvet Revolver to return to the band that launched him into the limelight and churned out hits like “Vaseline” and “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart,” which always evoke the unpleasant memories of my early teenage years...
STP are always cool and clad, but often amid some kind of moody meltdown or manic incoherence that’s a grisly testament to what comes from years of hard-core drug abuse. Regardless, STP are sure to provide past and faithful fans with thrills, not just pure nostalgia.
$20 to $45 Reserved Seating
Many fans would consider the Roots to be hip-hop’s best live band. But, I’d like to point out that while the Roots are deeply anchored in the fundamentals of hip-hop, soul and R&B, they are musicians above all else, and musicians in the hip-hop world – especially those with a heavy emphasis on rock ‘n’ roll – are a rarity.
All too often hip-hop artists are pigeonholed into being a few MCs with a DJ spinning beats. Not the Roots. They play all of their own instruments, including a tuba, flute, bongo, trombone, trumpet and sax. Such talents allow the Roots to create dense, powerful and dark sounds that swirl with polyphonic vocals and political intensity. These guys have obviously rejected all categorizing.
In fact, after seeing the Roots live several times, I’d even say that they dapple in the jam band genre, providing endless solos that seamlessly blend songs into one another. Of course, this is all found within the turntables-and-a-microphone world of hip-hop, again proving that you can’t classify the Roots.
Free with Summerfest admission
The Redwalls were just an unknown group from Illinois when I first saw them opening for Keane a few years ago. But once they took the stage, their guitar-driven, energetic rock ‘n’ roll became something familiar to me.
The Redwalls consist of four suit-wearing, smiling 20 somethings that all sing and share microphones and harmonies filled with quality ooos and ahhhs, come-ons and oh-yeahs. These guys seem to have ingested the Euro-pop of the past, and shat out the love child of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and The Kinks.
But as their Myspace page states, “We never set out to reinvent the wheel.” All music is thievery in a sense, so even though their sound hearkens back to the early days of the British Invasion, they still prove capable of making a mark on the current rock scene by making familiar sounds their own.
Free with Summerfest admission
Matt Ward’s live performance is described by one reviewer in two parts: One, his guitar seems to function as an extension of his physical body; two, M. Ward is capable of effectively transforming his entire audience into a personal and emotional instrument – they laugh, cry, and breathe as he would if he were living the songs instead of playing them.
This description imparts a much more accurate understanding of his uncanny command of the stage, which is likely made possible by his possession of such a deceptively inconspicuous live presence.
While M. Ward is possibly the most soulful white man on the planet, he is known to prioritize the attention of his viewers: music first, everything else second. M. Ward’s unassuming presence and stripped down set allows the audience to be completely captivated by the music. That’s mainly due to M. Ward’s comprehensive blend of folk and blues that spins a series of earnest, poetic tales of heartbreak, love and old friends, which are delivered with muffled tones and grit similar to that of Jeff Buckley and Tom Waits.
Evidently, witnessing M. Ward isn’t just listening to a man playing his list of songs, it’s surrendering your soul and exposing the core of your emotions to embody M. Ward, his life, passion and soul.
$15 General Admission
I mean, in both sound and look, The Go! Team is the epitome of multi-culturalism. Diversity in gender and race is paired with a blend of various sounds ranging from 60s soul and 80s hip-hop to Brit-pop and 70s TV show themes, and all of these elements are meticulously fused by enticing moves.
As said, their exciting performance is made possible by melding a lively group to a sound that’s upbeat and jovial. The six-member group leaps about the stage in beautifully synchronized pandemonium, sending a wave of energy through the crowd. Naturally, this causes roughly 90% of the crowd to dance with total disregard, flailing arms and legs and grooving in a manner not seen since the days of Soul Train.
You see, their youthful energy translates well on stage, and there’s nothing immature about their musical prowess either – even if it often sounds like high-pitched hubbub from a series of high school cheerleading chants.
$18.50 General Admission
There are many more shows coming to Milwaukee this month, especially during the final days of Summerfest. For a complete list of the Summerfest lineup, head over here.
For other concert information, take a look at the Rave, the Pabst, Riverside and Turner Hall, or any of the venues listed to the left under “Rock Out.” Or if you’re inclined, leave your recommendations in the comments section.